Punisher: War Journal #1
last thing you see is a guy with serious 'roid
Punisher has always been the most one-dimensional vigilante
in comics, and that might be why Punisher: War Journal
#1 is so surprising. Frank Castle is still the gruff
wad of scar tissue we’ve known all these years, but
this new volume has more fun with the character than any
story since Garth Ennis’ original relaunch of the
Things kick off when G.W. Bridge is asked
to head a S.H.I.E.L.D. taskforce assigned to bring down
Frank Castle. This follows one of The Punisher’s usual
executions where the newly deputized Stilt-Man tries to
beat Frank to the punch. Of course, Stilt-Man never was
the sharpest needle on the cactus, so, even trying to do
good, he winds up decimating the neighborhood.
And Frank just happens to have an anti-tank
But this brings up an important question
for Punisher: who retro-fitted Stilt-Man to do that much
damage? When he nabs the Terrible Tinkerer, original creator
of the suit, it turns out that the old man no longer has
the taste for such things. Not after Stamford. So he points
Frank in the direction of Stuart Clarke AKA Rampage; a man
who knows a few things about Stark technology...
the greatest achievement of Punisher: War Journal
is that it isn’t just a story during Civil War.
It’s a story BORN of Civil War.
Punisher lives further outside the law than any other hero
in the Marvel Universe. Perhaps too far. It’s one
of the main reasons you don’t see him in most crossovers
(the other being that a Viet Nam veteran with assault rifles
isn’t gonna fare well against Magneto, Loki, Galactus,
crossover fits him better than any other. When Bridge ponders
why they’re having such a hard time capturing an un-powered
loner, it occurs to him that, well, they kinda like him.
Punisher does what the law wants to do but can’t.
And that’s what Civil War should really be
about: do you WANT people who can work outside the law to
do the right thing? Are you prepared to live with the consequences
War Journal ties the character back into Civil
War continuity, building up what leads to him meeting
up with Spidey with probably the most entertaining Punisher
story we’ve seen in years. It serves not only as an
event but also the start of a damn enjoyable new series.
Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, Matt Fraction and Ariel Olivetti
have tweaked the character just slightly and managed to
make him a lot more fun again. At $2.99 for 30 pages of
great art and story, it’d be a crime not to buy this